Astros split the doubleheader with Chicago

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: August 13th doubleheader recap

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Game 1 Recap

After a disappointing loss on Sunday to the Orioles and a rainout the day before, the Astros were ready to get back in the win column in game one of the doubleheader on Tuesday. Here is a recap of the afternoon game:

Final Score: Astros 6, White Sox 2.

Record: 78-41, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Zack Greinke (12-4, 3.08 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Dylan Cease (2-5, 5.54 ERA).

1) Springer starts things with a bang

George Springer helped the Astros quickly get the taste of Sunday's loss out of their mouths on the first pitch of the game. He drilled a ball to left field, a 467-foot leadoff home run to put Houston up 1-0 immediately. After the defense saved a run in the bottom of the second, Jose Altuve doubled Houston's lead with a leadoff solo home run to start the third, making it a 2-0 game.

Those would be the only runs Houston would score until the sixth inning. In the top of the sixth, Yordan Alvarez worked a two-out walk, moved to third on a single by Yuli Gurriel, then scored on a passed ball, which at the time broke a tie to put Houston back ahead 3-2.

2) Quality start for Greinke

Zack Greinke was looking to make it back-to-back wins with his new team in the first of the two games on Tuesday. After a quick first inning, he allowed a couple of singles to put runners on base for his first test of the day. He would pass the test, thanks to a two-out strikeout and great throw out at home by George Springer connecting with Robinson Chirinos on a single that instead of scoring a run ended the inning.

The fourth inning was not the same story. After a quick third, Greinke allowed the leadoff runner aboard in the bottom of the fourth on an infield single, which would end up coming around to score on a one-out double to trim the lead to 2-1. He created trouble for himself in the bottom of the fifth, hitting the first batter of the inning who would move along to third on a couple of groundouts then score to tie the game on an RBI-double with two outs in the inning.

After Houston regained the lead in the top half, Greinke came out for his final inning in the bottom of the sixth and retired Chicago 1-2-3 to end his day in position for the win. His final line: 6 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 0 HR.

3) Houston pulls away late to take game one

Houston loaded the bases in the top of the seventh, getting three walks before scoring on another passed ball to extend their lead to two runs at 4-2. Will Harris took over for Greinke on the mound in the bottom of the seventh and was able to retire the White Sox in order with two strikeouts to send the game to the eighth.

The Astros added another insurance run in the top of the eighth, getting a leadoff double by Yuli Gurriel who moved to third on a flyout then scored on an RBI-single by Robinson Chirinos. They would load the bases later in the inning but stranded all three runners to keep the game at 5-2.

Ryan Pressly was the next reliever out of the bullpen for Houston and recorded a quick inning to keep the three-run lead intact. The offense added one last insurance run in the top of the ninth, getting a couple of walks before another RBI-single by Robinson Chirinos to extend the lead to 6-2.

Collin McHugh was tasked to keep the four-run lead in the bottom of the ninth inning. He did so, holding the White Sox scoreless to wrap up the win in game one.

Game 2 Recap

After taking the first game in the afternoon, Houston was looking for the doubleheader sweep by taking the evening game. Here is how the second game shook out:

Final Score: White Sox 4, Astros 1.

Record: 78-42, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Ivan Nova (8-9, 4.51 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Chris Devenski (2-1, 4.33 ERA).

1) Cole misses his start, Devenski fills in

In a late turn of events, Gerrit Cole would not be able to start the night game of the doubleheader due to hamstring discomfort, and Houston instead had Chris Devenski warm up quickly to pitch in the bottom of the first inning. He was able to put together a scoreless first inning but would struggle in the second, allowing three runs on four hits along with an error, putting Chicago ahead 3-0 early.

Geroge Springer was able to get one of those runs back in the top of the third, getting an RBI-single to score Aledmys Diaz who reached on an error earlier in the inning. Joe Biagini took over for Devenski in the bottom of the third and was able to get through that inning scoreless, but a two-out RBI-double in the bottom of the fourth put Chicago's lead back to three runs at 4-1.

2) Astros unable to crack Ivan Nova

Biagini would also throw the fifth, a scoreless inning before the Astros moved on to their next reliever, Hector Rondon. Rondon was able to provide two scoreless innings in the sixth and seventh; meanwhile, the Astros were being held in check by Ivan Nova of the White Sox.

Joe Smith pitched the bottom of the eighth and worked around a single and walk to keep the score as is, thanks to a little help on defense. Houston would come up empty in the top of the ninth, resulting in a doubleheader split. Ivan Nova would complete the game allowing just one run to the Astros.

Up Next: These two teams will wrap up the three-game series with an afternoon game on Wednesday at 1:10 PM Central. Wade Miley (11-4, 2.99 ERA) will be on the mound to try and build on his recent success for Houston while the White Sox will counter with Ross Detwiler (1-3, 5.35 ERA).

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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College football needs to call a timeout on the 2020 season.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 are set to announce, maybe today, perhaps in a few weeks, whether they will play football this fall.

Already the Ivy League, Mountain West and Mid-American Conference have canceled their fall football season for health and safety reasons amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Power 5 conferences – the Big Ten, Pac-12, Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12 and Southeastern Conference – should get onboard and put their football seasons on hold, too.

While some elected officials without medical degrees say that coronavirus amounts to little more than sniffles for young people, healthcare experts argue that college-age people, while they do recover quickly and may not exhibit symptoms, do contract and spread the virus.

There has been a 90 percent increase of young people testing positive for the virus in the past four weeks. More important, health experts say they can't measure the long-term effects of the virus, which may include brain damage, heart disease and reduced lung capacity.

There is a simple solution to play or not play college football this fall – postpone the season to next spring, when health experts will know more about the disease. There possibly could be a vaccine by then, which would allow fans back in stadiums.

Many high-profile college players and coaches weighed in on the debate Monday, almost unanimously saying that the 2020 football schedule should be played on schedule, starting in a few weeks.

Players, including Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, adopted the hashtag #WeWantToPlay. In a tweet, Lawrence said that players would be more at risk for coronavirus if the fall season doesn't move forward. "We are more likely to get the virus in everyday life than playing football."

Lawrence added that, if the football season is canceled or postponed, players "will be sent home to their own communities where social distancing is highly unlikely."

Alabama coach Nick Saban told ESPN, "Look, players are a lot safer with us than they are running around at home."

Two points: University presidents should listen to only one group of people – healthcare professionals – when they decide whether to cancel or postpone the fall football season. Yes, players want to play during this pandemic. But players also want to play when they are injured or their brain was just scrambled by a vicious tackle. We applaud athletes who play with a broken leg. We see players with concussions plead with their coaches to put them back in the game.

As for the argument that players are more likely to catch the virus if they're sent home – who's sending them home? These are student-athletes. Students. Most college campuses will be open with students attending classes this fall. Major college programs like Clemson have 85 full scholarships designated for football. Colleges won't take away players' scholarships if the football season is canceled. Clemson's campus will open Sept. 21 for in-person classes.

ESPN college football analyst Greg McElroy also said the season should be played as scheduled: "If they're (players) OK, then I'm OK." Texas governor Greg Abbott chimed in on the players' side. He said, "It's their careers, it's their health."

What "careers" is he talking about? There are about 775 colleges that play football. Only 1.7 percent of all those players will play in the NFL or another professional league. On Sept. 3, Rice University will play Army. It is unlikely that any of those players will have a career in football. However, given the excellence of academics at those colleges, players will have career opportunities in something other than football. The average NFL career is 2-1/2 years. Rice and Army grads can top that.

The NBA is completing its season in a bubble in Orlando, with players confined to their hotels between games. Only 22 teams are in Orlando for the lockdown. The Rockets organization sent about 35 people, including coaches, players and essential personnel to Orlando.

Baseball is playing its season outside a bubble. So many players are testing positive for coronavirus that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred last week threatened to end the season if teams don't do a better job of enforcing the league's health protocol. What's left is an unbalanced season. For example, the Atlanta Braves and Seattle Mariners have played 18 games, while the St. Louis Cardinals have played only five games. The ironically first-place Miami Marlins, which had 18 players test positive, have played only 10 games.

College football can't be played in a bubble. There are too many teams, with some having more than 100 players and 20 coaches. And no sport thrives on fans' excitement and marching bands like college football. Several colleges, including the University of Texas and Texas A&M, have stadiums that hold more than 100,000 fans. Even if college football could be played in a bubble, it would require isolating players from August to January, when they're supposed to be in class. I know … supposed.

This one is easy. For the health and safety of players, play the fall 2020 season in spring 2021.

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